Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The British Left and Its Ideological Blinders

The Price of Occupation
By Tariq Ali
The Guardian UK
Friday 08 July 2005

" The real solution lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Just because these three wars are reported sporadically and mean little to the everyday lives of most Europeans does not mean the anger and bitterness they arouse in the Muslim world and its diaspora is insignificant. As long as western politicians wage their wars and their colleagues in the Muslim world watch in silence, young people will be attracted to the groups who carry out random acts of revenge."

This quotation sums up alot of problems with the British Left as represented by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), Stop the War Coalition and other spinoffs of the same Trotskyite base. They are so confined by anti-western bias that they are unaware that they are only making half points. The Islamic world contrary to Ali and others does not just destest western capitalist imperialism and military occupation of Muslim peoples. It also hates military occupations by other foreigners. Not listed in Ali's list are the occupations of Chechnya, Kashmir and Eastern Turkestan. All of which have also engendered terrorist resistance as a result of non-Muslims occupying and oppressing Muslims. But, the case of Chechnya is probably most glaring because Russia is a Western colonial power. Yet, Ali deliberately exlcudes Chechnya from his list of Muslims fighting against occupation. Far more Chechens, about 100,000 (10% of the population) have been killed by the Russian occupation in the last ten years than the Israelis have killed Palestinians. This of course does not justify Israeli barbarity, but certainly one can oppose both Israeli and Russian attrocities. Because Russia has historically been hostile to the US it seems to get a free pass from the British Left to practice scorched earth policies, Latin American style dissapearances and old style imperial rule over Muslims in the Caucasus.

This is a real blind spot on the Left in the UK and it makes it hard to take them seriously regarding issues like Iraq and Palestine. One gets the very distinct impression that the British Left is only pro-Palestinian because the US government is pro-Israeli and not because the Palestinian cause is right. Indeed when the Israelis forcibly expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1947 and 1948, almost all of the self-identified British Left along with the American Left and the Soviet government strongly supported the Zionist cause. The British Left would now like to bury the history of this previous support, but it really does show a strong track record of ignoring attrocities in the service of ideology.

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